Initially revealed on The Flock, I will probably be sharing articles I write impressed by the themes from my books – on this case, IN EVERY MIRROR SHE’S BLACK – to take you behind the scenes and deeper into my writing course of.
Whether or not we prefer to admit it or not, our by no means ending quest for love usually takes us down tough roads stuffed with curiosity, disgrace, rejection, and in the end continued hope that we’ll discover what we’re on the lookout for. Over time alongside this arduous journey, we even develop preferences of who we’re bodily interested in, which sorts of energies we would like orbiting us, and dare I say it, individuals we’re keen to danger all of it for, for a single passionate night time.
However at what level on that quest of the guts does desire morph into fetish and in the end obsession? When that relentless pursuit of a sure sort of particular person we really feel can utterly fulfill us bodily turns into a “chasing after the wind” as quoted from Ecclesiastes 1:14?
Alongside racism, sexism, tokenism, isolation, and lots of extra deeply social themes, one of many matters I discover in depth in my novel, IN EVERY MIRROR SHE’S BLACK is the concept of fetishization.
On the floor, fetishization is usually described because the sexual objectification of somebody based mostly on their id. Traditionally, ladies have needed to battle towards the objectification of our our bodies for hundreds of years. For Black and different ladies of colour particularly, these sexual identities are incomplete narratives which have been crafted by society on behalf of us, and a skewed id we proceed to battle at present.
As a skilled journey author who additionally occurs to be a Black girl, I’ve traveled to remote areas and interacted with completely different cultures. Oftentimes society’s pre-crafted narratives of me as a Black girl precedes my arrival. Unusual males really feel they’ve license to the touch and examine due to pictures of twerking Black ladies on TV. And regardless of having a derrière prime for twerking, my abilities are pitiful.
However in IN EVERY MIRROR SHE’S BLACK, I needed to take the dialogue of fetishization one stage deeper. The actual nuance I needed to spotlight is manifested in considered one of my private favourite but cringe-worthy scenes within the e book.
We meet Brittany-Rae Johnson, a former mannequin turned flight attendant who works for British Airways. Within the scene the place she meets Johan von Lundin (“Jonny”) for the second time, she is milling down the aisle in the course of the night flight checking on her enterprise class passengers. As she strolls down the aisle, Jonny grabs her hand. She jerks at first, frightened that she is being touched by a wierd man with out her consent. Then Jonny pulls her slowly in the direction of him, his grasp tight on her. She is compelled to squat down subsequent to him to take care of his wants.
In any case, she is a flight attendant and should reply to her friends.
Fetishization takes on one other stage of insidiousness when energy dynamics and a way of entitlement comes into play. Particularly when a dominant tradition fetishes a minority tradition. When dominance touches with out invitation and is blind to this very violating act.
I liken it to individuals reaching for Black individuals’s hair with out permission.
Certainly one of my most fascinating observations as non-Black readers start to fulfill Kemi, Brittany, and Muna in my novel is their reactions to the connection between Brittany and Jonny. Many white ladies can’t appear to wrap their minds round that dynamic and even worse, imagine within the deep fetishization of Black ladies. In any case, society has held up white ladies as the usual of magnificence for hundreds of years.
This has meant leaving ladies of colour uncovered and susceptible to advances, whereas not being taken critically after we do complain about this to our allies. That is additionally why after we disappear, the seek for us isn’t as intensive.
Males aren’t proof against being flattened into objects both.
Over the past couple of years, the fetishization of males continues to floor considerably as social media has grabbed maintain of our lives and given us extra platforms to amplify our voices and preferences. I explored this within the e book via Kemi’s seek for a sure sort of brawn. The reader may think Kemi tap-dancing alongside that precarious line between desire and fetish, however might this be Kemi’s personal deep fetishization of sturdy highly effective males coming into play?
As a Black girl who has lived in Europe for over a decade, the sense of “colour blindness” that runs rampant in lots of European societies flattens three-dimensional individuals and their very own narratives. It turns us into clean canvases with nothing distinctive to carry into these societies.
Oh, moreover the stereotypes which have been satirically crafted for us by these societies.
Many white Europeans are likely to delight themselves in being “colour blind” in terms of interracial relationship and love relationships. So far, I gave a chat on UN Cultural Range Day the place I shared two pictures facet by facet. One picture confirmed a Black girl and white man on their marriage ceremony day. The second was of a Black girl in an influence pose in an workplace subsequent to a white male colleague.
There’s a large distinction between loving a Black girl versus taking instructions from her as your boss or CEO. Then all of the unfavourable stereotypes are conferred to the Black girl boss whereas all of the “positive-sounding” stereotypes are conferred to her as your love curiosity.
That is additionally why Jonny as a personality merely tolerates Kemi at work, is sexually obsessive about Brittany, and doesn’t need Muna anyplace close to his orbit.
As a result of, you see, the issue with fetishization goes past sexual desire. It truly flattens three-dimensional heat our bodies into chilly caricatures merely for one’s personal pleasure. The place one picks and chooses which a part of the particular person one needs to style and which half one needs to hate.
Or, like I aptly describe within the e book, tasting an individual like cheese on toothpicks handed out at a farmer’s market with no intention of creating a purchase order whereas flicking the toothpick away after consumption.